COVID-19: Portable Raman Analyzer for point-of-care rapid diagnosis of COVID-19

Venkatakrishnan, Krishnan | $50,000

Ontario Ryerson University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

Rapid diagnosis of viral infection is critical for the prevention of virus spreading. Currently there are approximately 30 FDA-approved COVID‑19 test kits on the market. All of them are based on a PCR process and must be operated by laboratories certified for high or moderate-complexity tests. The process is time consuming and usually takes hours to obtain testing results. Test kits for rapid diagnosis emerged in the market in April 2020, but the maximum number of tests that can be performed is only 15 per day. Ryerson researchers in collaboration with Neuronic Works propose a COVID‑19 test kit that has the potential to cut the test time to 2 minutes. The proposed test kit consists of a portable Raman Analyzer and quantum-probe-based test medium. Three commonly used COVID‑19 markers will be tested. The Ryerson research team has already demonstrated the test kit for the detection of cellular DNA with limitation of detection down to femtomolar concentration. The current project of enabling detection of COVID‑19 RNA, proteins and antibodies is a natural extension of their earlier research. The team will conduct a proof-of-concept study and develop algorithms and logics for accurate computerized diagnosis. Neuronic Works, one of the leading companies in electronic device design, will transfer this laboratory research into a prototype COVID‑19 test kit. A test kit like this could safeguard public health and safety and reduce the spread of COVID 19 since infected cases (including mild and asymptomatic cases) could be quickly identified. As a result, a broader opening of the economy is possible.

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